This year’s Black History Month – which kicks off today – has the theme of ‘Back to the future’, which celebrates the history, culture and influences of the African diaspora on British life. Not only across the borough, of course, but the capital and the rest of the UK.
A series of both virtual and socially distanced, Covid-19 complying, physical events, here’s a hand-picked selection to explore over the next few weeks.
1. Traditional late-night story tales
Get cosy with your loved one or bubble at Holborn or Pancras Square libraries for the most memorable tales from Tuup, the Unorthodox Unprecedented Preacher, recognized as one of the most inspiring inspirational storytellers alive; and Usifu Jalloh, a highly experienced, talented award winning performer and educator. There are two events, both with guest live musicians, starting at 730pm: 28th Oct, Holborn Library, 32-38 Theobalds Rd, WC1X 8PA, and 25th Nov, 5 Pancras Square Library, N1C 4AG, tickets here
2. Headties and Headwraps
This one-off evening explores the complex history and cultural significance of turbans, headties and headwraps with a virtual workshop, imagery and showing of the film Wax Print. Also under discussion will be the early colonial practice of shaving the heads of black slaves in order to eradicate their sense of culture and identity. The evening includes a Q&A with Wax Print director Aiwan Obinyan. Bring your favourite scarves to practice with, but African print and solid headscarves will also be available to purchase. 11th November, 630-10pm, Gabeto, Stables Market NW1, tickets here
3. Contemporary Activism, from past to present: Making lasting change for the Black community
This online-only event links authors and activists and offers inspiration about how young people can become future activists. The event also remembers activist and journalist Claudia Jones (main pic, above) founder of Carnival in London, at St Pancras Town Hall (Camden Centre) by inviting guest speakers to comment and reflect on how she influenced their activism. A series of virtual conversations will showcase the many ways in which the Black community have been driving change for the good of society. Free, 22nd Oct, 6pm-10pm, tickets here
4. Back to the Future: How our Journey began
Coordinated by Camden Black Workers Group (CBWG) this programme of conversation features guest speakers coordinated Patrick Vernon OBE, British social commentator Basil Gabbidon, musician Steel Pulse and activist; Dr Angela Herbert – Chair of Violent Crime prevention board ,and Kieran Ferdinand Camden LGBT. It’s hosted and facilitated by Alim Kamara. 23rd Oct, 6pm-9pm, at Camden House, Lab Tech, Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AB. Tickets free (virtual or general admission) from here
5. Black History Walks
Throughout October why not take a Black History Walk to learn more about the city we live in? There are 12 to choose from (more details on each here) and they last around two hours. Also worth picking up is Tony Warner’s eponymous Black History Walks book, the first of its kind: a collection of guided tours throughout London, it invites the reader to see their surroundings with new eyes, from the City of London to Southwark, Camden to Westminster. Book launch (or pre-order here), 20th November, Pancras Square Library, 5 Pancras Road, N1C 4AG, tickets here
For the full rundown of Black History Season events in Camden head here. It’s also worth checking out the Windrush exhibition We Are Here at Vestry House in Walthamstow. Many hundreds of events are taking place across the country on the main website here.